Step up and reject weak rules on food speculation
02 February 2017
Its been a long fight to stop corporations from treating food as a gambling chip in the financial markets. Back in 2008, prices for staple foods like wheat and corn rocketed to record levels in the global food crisis, unleashing hunger and social unrest in many countries. Banks and corporations had played a key role in driving up food prices through excessive speculation, leading to increased poverty and hunger globally.
Together with our European allies, we campaigned for new EU legislation to tackle excessive food speculation. And in 2014 we won. So what's brought this back on the agenda? The European commission has been working on the details to implement the legislation over the past three years and at last, it has published its final proposal. Unfortunately, the detailed rules aren't good enough and have the hallmarks of the powerful financial lobby written all over them. The proposed rules are massively weak and will undermine the hard-fought for legislation rendering it ineffective to curb food speculation.
The only way to salvage the legislation is for MEPs to reject these weak rules in an upcoming vote in mid-February. This rejection relies on a majority of MEPs to vote in this way. Otherwise, we will be left with regulation that will still allow excessive levels of food speculation leaving millions across the world vulnerable to volatile and unstable food prices.
What about Brexit?
The legislation will come into effect in January 2018 so the UK will still be in the EU and the UK will have to adopt the directive into national law. However, where the uncertainty lies - as with all things Brexit - is what deal Theresa May will negotiate on the financial services sector.
What we do know for now is that the legislation will come into force next January and we need to make sure it has teeth. It's a tall order to get the majority of all MEPs in the European parliament to vote for a rejection and so every single vote counts. If ever we need a people's victory over corporate greed, it's now.